Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum, originally known as the J. B. Speed Memorial Museum, is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum. It was founded in 1925 by Hattie Bishop Speed as a memorial to her husband, James Breckinridge Speed, a prominent Louisville businessman and philanthropist.

Designed by Louisville architect Arthur Loomis, the museum opened its doors on January 15, 1927, with an exhibition sponsored by the Louisville Art Association. Over a hundred American and European painters were represented and nearly two thousand visitors attended the opening.

Mrs. Speed served as the first president and director of the museum. In 1933, the museum was incorporated as a privately endowed institution, and its board of governors was established. In 1934, the museum received its first major donation, a valuable collection of North American Indian artifacts given by Dr. Frederick Weygold. In 1941, Dr. Preston Pope Satterwhite made a significant gift to the museum – his collection of 15th century and 16th century French and Italian Decorative Arts including tapestries and furniture. In 1944, he donated the English Renaissance room, which was moved in its entirety from Devonshire, England. Dr. Satterwhite’s gift necessitated an enlargement of the museum and in his will he provided for the addition that bears his name. Completed in 1954, it was the first of three additions to the original building.

Place Categories: Art MuseumPlace Tags: fiber, paintings, printmaking, sculptures and woodworking

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